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Bach by the Numbers

A Lecture by Roger Sherman
Artistic Director Emeritus, Orcas Choral Society

Sunday, November 4, at 2:00 p.m.
in Orcas Island Community Church

There is much more to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach than what we hear when it is played. For over a century, music theorists have tried to discover the ways in which Bach included numerical symbolism in his compositions. They are clearly full of numeric content, but was this intentional? And if so, what did it mean?

In this presentation, Roger Sherman will explore three specific topics. The first is the hidden symbols in the title page of an important work, which may solve one of the most enduring controversies in Bach’s keyboard music. Another topic is a solution to the puzzle called Canon 13, which Bach holds in his hand in his famous portrait. Finally, Roger will discuss Bach’s use of proportional parallelism to create “eternal music” in his works and collections.

Roger Sherman is a resident of Orcas Island who has had a life-long interest in the music of J. S. Bach. He served as Artistic Director of the Orcas Choral Society and as Associate Organist of Saint Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle. He has given organ concerts in settings around the world, many of them featuring Bach’s music. As President of The Gothic Catalog, a collection of recordings specializing in organ and choral music, he has been the producer and recording and mastering engineer for over 300 works. And for the past 25 years, he has hosted the popular radio program “The Organ Loft” on KING-FM radio in Seattle. In addition to his musical activities, Roger pursued a career in computer technology with Boeing Computer Services and Microsoft, where he served as the company’s first Director of Testing.

Cosponsored by:
Janet Alderton
Joe Cohen and Martha Farish
Carl de Boer